There aren’t any traditional gift ideas to celebrate 144 years. But Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi has some ideas.
“I’m thinking aluminum,” Kaufusi said during a Wednesday ceremony. “Personalized aluminum.”
Provo became a bit more blue Wednesday morning as the city unveiled Bulldog Boulevard’s new name, Cougar Boulevard, during a short ceremony at the intersection of the street and Canyon Road.
The event marked the 144th anniversary of the founding of Brigham Young University and coincided with the university’s homecoming week.
Kaufusi and Cosmo the Cougar, BYU’s mascot, were raised in lifts to unveil the new, blue sign following a countdown from BYU President Kevin Worthen and the crowd clapping and singing along to BYU’s fight song.
The road had previously been named Bulldog Boulevard to pay homage to Provo High School, which was relocated to the city’s west side last year. The old Provo High School building now belongs to BYU, which has not publicly announced what it will do with the property.
The street is also known as 1230 North.
The name change announcement came the day before the sign was unveiled.
“There has been such excitement on this announcement that the bell has been rung,” Kaufusi said during the ceremony.
She said the new name celebrates the relationship between the city and the university.
Worthen thanked the city for involving it in the naming decision. The university is central to the community, he said in his remarks, as is the road to BYU.
He compared it to the city of Cusco in Peru, which used to be the capital and center of the Incan Empire. The city was designed in the shape of a cougar, which are called pumas in South America.
“For us, this is the center of the universe,” Worthen said.
The unveiling came amidst ongoing construction on a redesign that aims to make 1230 North safer. Kaufusi said the street is seven times more dangerous than the average Utah road.
When finished, the street with include more trees, wider sidewalks and medians.
“Drivers are safer today,” she said.
The intersection was shut down for the ceremony. Cosmo danced with students as they signed their names with chalk in the intersection and bid farewell to the “Bulldog Boulevard” name.
For Hailey Smedley, a sophomore at BYU, the celebration was a way to celebrate BYU being a large part of the Provo community.
She’s a fan of the new name.
“I think it’s awesome,” Smedley said. “I think it makes a lot of sense being right here.”